religion and faith | KUOW News and Information

religion and faith

Courtesy of Nina Krasnow

On Sept. 10, Rabbi Elie Estrin of Seattle was sworn in as the first U.S. Air Force chaplain with a beard after the Pentagon relaxed its restrictions on facial hair in the military earlier this year.

Estrin, who is now based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said that though he was attracted to a military life before the ban was lifted, keeping his beard was an important part of his culture.

Youth Find Themselves By Crossing Religious Boundaries

Sep 25, 2014
KUOW Photo / Jenny Asarnow

This month's podcast features stories about youth who are defining themselves by building new religious community. 

First, pre-teens on all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict put aside their cultural differences to find peace and friendship in a program called Kids4Peace.

Then, two young Muslim converts pursue their beliefs in spite of what their families or the media have to say.

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a day when everything tastes like dessert. In symbolic hope of a sweet year to come, the table is positively sticky — honey marinades, honey cakes, raisin-studded challah bread. And, depending on where your family is from, sweet gefilte fish.

Gefilte fish, those oft-reviled patties packed in jelled broth, can be a hard sell even in the standard savory form. And with a big dose of sugar stirred in? It can be hard to swallow. But for Jews with roots in Poland, gefilte fish was always sweet. Always.

Earth Ministry's Facebook page

Marcie Sillman speaks with Jessie Dye, outreach director for Earth Ministry, about the 2014 UN Climate Summit and the involvement of religious groups in environmental work.

Catholic and other religious hospitals and universities have been arguing in federal court for much of the past two years that they shouldn't have to offer or facilitate birth control as part of their employee health plans because it violates their religious beliefs.

But what happens when the insurance company is itself Catholic? It turns out that Catholic health plans have for years been arranging for outside firms to provide contraceptive coverage to their enrollees.

Pastor Drew Yoos is tired of white Christian congregations perpetuating systemic racism.
Flickr Photo/Mars Hill Church (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with James Wellman, chair of the comparative religion program at the University of Washington, about why young people are drawn to evangelical institutions like Mars Hill Church and are leaving mainline denominations behind.

Wellman will be speaking at the Christ and Cascadia conference this month, an academic gathering addressing Christian renewal in the region.

Courtesy: Twitter/@jsuffering

Jeannie Yandel speaks with former Mars Hill Church Pastor and Elder Jeff Bettger about what he loved about the church and why he finally made the hard decision to leave in the wake of recent scandals.

Chasing China's Doomsday Cult

Aug 15, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Almighty God vs. the Red Dragon: It sounds like a fantasy action film, but it is in fact a real and disturbing struggle in China.

The most vivid case involves a group of people who beat a stranger to death in a fast food restaurant. They said they had no choice because the victim was a "demon."

The killers are fanatical followers of the Church of the Almighty God, a Christian doomsday cult which claims millions of members across China and pledges to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party - which it calls the Great Red Dragon.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Dr. Willie Parker is one of two doctors who performs abortions at the only women’s health clinic in Mississippi where abortions are performed.

Parker is a devout Christian who feels he is doing the right thing to help women in need. He’s the subject of a profile in Esquire magazine called “The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker.”

How Do You Save A Dying Language?

Jul 31, 2014

Ross Reynolds speaks with Devin Naar, an assistant professor at the University of Washington, about his attempts to save Ladino, a dying language spoken by Sephardic Jews. Naar discusses the language's fascinating history, uncertain future and how Ladino helped him uncover secrets about his own family.

A divided county council in Pierce County, Washington Tuesday voted to display the motto "In God We Trust" in its chambers. That makes it the first jurisdiction in the Northwest to become part of a national campaign to feature the motto.

Creative Or Analytical? Ask A Wiccan!

Jul 25, 2014
Lila Kitaeff / KUOW

Meghan O'Kelley and Noah Phillips Reardon attend a Wiccan gathering at Edge of the Circle Bookstore on Capital Hill. Listen as they discover and share the ancient secrets of palm reading.

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook.

With the sun lingering on the horizon and the Capitol in the distance, runner after runner completed a 3-mile loop around the National Mall and was met with cheers and high-fives. Standing in two parallel lines with hands outstretched, the crowd of mostly 20-somethings formed a celebratory human bridge for their fellow runners to pass under as they crossed the finish line.

Calling the church sex abuse scandal a "leprosy in our house," Pope Francis tells an Italian newspaper that 1 in 50 Catholic clerics are pedophiles.

In an interview with Eugenio Scalfari, the 90-year-old founder of La Repubblica, Francis is quoted as saying that advisers in the Church "reassure me" that the problem amounts to "about 2 percent."

Marcie Sillman talks with journalist Lesley Hazleton about the disparate ways young and old Jews regard the actions of Israel, and what this means for their future.

Is Mars Hill Church Shrinking?

Jul 7, 2014

David Hyde talks with Warren Throckmorten, writer for the religion news site Patheos, about Seattle-based Mars Hill Church's recent layoffs and increased drives for donations.

David Hyde talks to Alex Beam about his new book "American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and The Fate of The Modern Church."

David Hyde talks with Carolyn Sudds, a Seattle Mormon critical of the organization Ordain Women. The group is advocating for women to be allowed access to the Mormon priesthood. Last week, Hyde interviewed Ordain Women member Natalie Kelly about the excommunication of the movement's founder.

What's A Caliphate?

Jun 30, 2014

The Islamic caliphates had a long and glorious run, but in the 21st century, they seemed consigned to history. Simply put, a caliphate is an Islamic state led by a supreme religious and political leader, and it has existed in one form or another for most of the 1,400-year history of Islam.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago marked the end of the last caliphate, an extraordinarily powerful one that had survived for more than four centuries.

Marcie Sillman talks with Jason Berry, author of "Lead Us Not Into Temptation" and contributor to the National Catholic Reporter, about the long history of sex abuse in the Catholic church and one organization that is crumbling in the wake of sex abuse settlements.

A Methodist minister in Pennsylvania, who was defrocked last year for presiding over his son's same-sex wedding, has been reinstated by the church.

A nine-person appeals panel of the United Methodist Church ordered Frank Schaefer's pastoral credentials restored, saying "the jury that convicted him last year erred when fashioning his punishment," according to The Associated Press.

Flickr Photo/Gary VanDerBerg (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Reverend Belladonna Laveau of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church about the pagan history behind the summer solstice and how modern Wiccans celebrate the longest day of the year.

Iman Jamal Rahman's book "The Laughter of the Sufis."

Marcie Sillman talks to Imam Jamal Rahman, one of the three Interfaith Amigos, about his new book "Sacred Laughter Of The Sufis: Awakening the Soul with the Mulla's Comic Teaching Stories and Other Islamic Wisdom."

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Lisa Brooks talks with Seattle Pacific University Associated Students President Isaac Gundersen about faith and the aftermath of Thursday's campus shooting.

KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Ross Reynolds interviews Bryan Storkel, the co-director of a new documentary called "Fight Church" about cage fighting Christian ministers, and Preston Hocker, one of those ministers who is known as the "Pastor of Disaster." 

Marcie Sillman talks to Seattle P.I. reporter Joel Connelly about Father Harry Quigg, a priest who kept ministering despite being suspended for sexual misconduct in 2004. The Seattle Archdiocese announced earlier this week that Quigg had an on-going relationship with a 17-year-old.

Barbara Ehrenreich Talks 'Living With A Wild God'

May 8, 2014
Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Living With a Wild God."

Barbara Ehrenreich is a journalist and activist known for her wry, acerbic, probing and prolific writings. She writes essays and articles related to social injustice and books on subjects she says don’t make money but fascinate her.

In 2001, Ehrenreich was undergoing breast cancer treatment and putting her papers in order simultaneously. She calls the timing “viciously appropriate.”

Among the many boxes from a lifetime of writing she re-discovered a journal she’d kept as an adolescent. Moved by the questions she found there — "Why are we here? What’s going on in the universe? What is all this about?" — she promised to try to better understand her youthful experience if she recovered.

The result is her latest book, "Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything." She calls it a “sort of philosophical memoir, or a metaphysical thriller.”

Ehrenreich spoke with KUOW’s Marcie Sillman at Town Hall Seattle on April 21.

Flickr Photo/Wally Gobetz

Marcie Sillman talks with Dahlia Lithwick, Slate law writer, about the Supreme Court's ruling Monday that allows for prayers before local council meetings. She also speaks with Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke, who implemented prayer in his own meetings.

Krista Bremer's memoir, "My Accidental Jihad."

Marcie Sillman talks with author Krista Bremer about her memoir, "My Accidental Jihad." In it Bremer reflects on her marriage to a Libyan-born Muslim and the challenges she faced in a multicultural family.

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